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Welcome to Thailand: Finding the G-Spot

The existence of a female pleasure zone has been disputed for decades. Meanwhile, it’s been alive and well in Thailand all this time.
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The G-spot in Bangkok is exactly where it's supposed to be. "Kind of up high and in the back," as one sex tourist put it. (I. Roze/GlobalPost)

BANGKOK, Thailand — "Where's the G-spot?"

It’s a question you hear in one of Bangkok’s red light districts (yes, there are several), where storefronts with names like Naughty Girls, Lollipop, Las Vegas and Spankey’s, also known as “You spank me, I spank you" dot the landscape. 

And, then, tucked in the back on the second floor and marked properly for those who need explicit directions, there it lies: the G-SPOT, the biggest strip show in business.

Perhaps we need a quick crash course on the G-spot here. The anatomical one, I mean. 

Previously known as the Gräfenberg Spot, named after a German gynecologist named Ernst Gräfenberg, the G-spot is a female erogenous zone typically located one to three inches up the anterior vaginal wall between the vaginal opening and the urethra. (Thank you, Wikipedia, for everything you do to spread the wisdom.)

The G-spot is widely believed to be responsible for some of the most powerful female orgasms. Finding the little bean-shaped area is something magazines for men have dedicated many a page to, often with no tangible results. The recent article on msn.com titled "Is the G-spot real? Scientist can't find it" is a case in point.

Here in Bangkok, things don’t exactly revolve around the G-spot, as much as sex permeates the air.

Most sex tourists who come here look like they don’t know — or don’t care — what the G-spot is, let alone where it might be located. They're, of course, looking after their own pleasure. 

Isn't the denial of the importance of the G-spot the whole point of sex tourism? 

Why would anyone name a sex club the G-spot, anyway? 

Bangkok isn't the only place in the world with a G-Spot strip club. In fact, it's one of the more common names for this kind of venue. G-Spot can be found in Portland, Vancouver, LA, Surrey, and plenty other places. 

To be fair, though, occasionally, there are those who look almost happy to have stumbled upon it. Almost. Take this conversation from Bangkok’s Nana sex district, around 1 a.m. last night:

“Look, mate, here it is!“ says Jon, a tourist from New Zealand, pointing at the G-Spot neon sign.

“I always knew it was up kind of up high and in the back. But, honestly, I could never be bothered.”

Round of laughter.

The G-jokes went on, too.

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Welcome to Thailand: The penis shrine

Tucked behind the Swissotel Hotel in Bangkok is a fertility shrine with hundreds of phallus carvings.

It’s been a while since I got anywhere near a seven-foot penis.

The last time that happened I was in Bhutan, where I reported on the Buddhism-inspired phallic imagery locals there paint on their houses to ward off evil spirits.

You'll find similar phallic warship rituals in Japan, too, as reported by GlobalPost in a story and photo essay on penis and vagina festivals.

Since it’s almost springtime, it was about time I made another pilgrimage to pay my respects to the penis.

After all, if it weren’t for a global fascination with the phallus, I would have to find another way to make a living.

So today I went to the “penis shrine,” as the Lingam Fertility Shrine in Bangkok is colloquially called.

It's a small wooden structure tucked behind a giant glass building of the Swissotel Hotel. I found myself in this secluded spot, in the shadow of banyan trees, surrounded by some three hundred wooden phalluses ranging from lifesize to seven feet long.

The Lingam Fertility Shrine, if the name isn't obvious, is the place locals come to pray so that they can conceive children.

The setting is surreal. If I was a marketing director for Swissotel, I would capitalize on the hotel’s location and design a special “penis shrine view room.” You could set up couples with champagne and charge them as much as an average IVF cycle.

The shrine was originally dedicated to Chao Mae Tuptim, a female animist spirit who — locals believe — has been residing in the banyan tree next to the shrine for centuries. One day, the story goes, a woman came to the shrine asking for help from Chao Mae Tuptim because she couldn’t get pregnant. Nine months after visiting the temple, she gave birth to a healthy child. She was so grateful, she came back and left a giant wooden carving of penis as a way to thank the universe.

Over the years, others have followed in her footsteps. If you visit today, you will see hundreds of phallus-shaped objects, made mostly from wood and stone.

Some have bows tied around them for protection, others are dyed bright red, blue or green. All of them, however, are here with the same premise: You offer up a penis, and you, too, may undergo the miracle of conception.

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Welcome to Thailand: No sex tourists, please

A global sex correspondent goes to Bangkok. For the first time ever.
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Warm welcome to Bangkok. (I.Roze/GlobalPost)

BANGKOK, Thailand — I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but this is my first time in Thailand.

I must be the only global sex correspondent in the world who is a complete Bangkok virgin, but I am about to change all that.

I have 10 days to discover what Thailand has to offer in the realm of love, sex and everything in between.

Some say 10 days is nothing, others warn me that 10 days in Thailand is about as taxing as 10 days in Las Vegas.

Last year, I spent four days in Las Vegas and it took about 10 years off my life. I cannot even imagine what 10 days in Thailand will do to me.

For starters, I am still mentally preparing myself to see the ping-pong show. I can sort of visualize ping-pongs pushing up against the cervix, definitely far more easily than razor blades. Another show, same idea.

Since I just arrived, I haven’t seen much of Thailand aside from the eclectic Atlanta Hotel in Bangkok. Which isn’t anything to sneeze at.

My favorite thing about the place is the giant “no sex tourists welcome” outside.

You know you are in a classy joint when you get a welcome like that. I shouldn’t be too surprised since I splurged and shelled out a whole 23 dollars for the hotel room here. It comes with its own bathroom and air-conditioning unit, and a rulebook twice the size of the New Testament.

Here are some of the rules imposed by the Atlanta Hotel:
- no sex workers (of any sex)
- no drugs
- no demi-mondaine
- no calamites
- no drugs
- no prostitutes (see rule on demi-mondaine)

I am already feeling nervous about the whole thing. And it turns out there is another rulebook in the lobby called the Sixteen Fundamental Principles and that one gets into some serious detail on what is generally unacceptable in Thailand, such as:

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The strange life of a sex worker in Malawi

It’s payday for sex-starved woodmen in Malawi. That only means one thing: the line at the “nondescript shack” gets extra long.
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A man rides his bicycle pas another bike with a pile of wood attached outside the village of Lilongwe, Malawi on July 13, 2011. Malawi is one of the world's poorest countries. (ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Consider the dramatic opening of this story in Malawi Today: “Something raw is happening behind the scenic beauty of Malawi’s Chikangawa Forest — scores of men are queuing for sex with a single woman in a nondescript shack, most times without condoms.”

The poetry of the writing aside, all you have to remember is these key words: something raw, scores of men, single women, nondescript shack and you get the gist of the story.

My favorite part of the whole thing is the nondescript shack detail.

It’s hard enough to visualize men patiently lining up for sex in a descript shack, let alone a completely non-descript one. It makes the whole story that much more mysterious.

Fortunately, the writers of The Nation from Malawi — ever the intrepid reporters — were equally intrigued about the logistical challenges of filling the needs of sex-starved loggers.

So, they got embedded, so to speak.

After a harrowing investigation deep in the forest, here is what Malawi Today reported: “The Nation had a four-day live-to-tell experience in four Chikangawa timber centres: Luwawa, Nthungwa, Raiply and Kalungulu where, at some points, we saw men on queues, waiting for their turn with a prostitute.”

Specifically, this is how it happened, according to the paper:

The Nation was in luck on a Saturday evening. After sampling traditional wine at Nkhando, our crew witnessed five men lining up near the market’s makeshift bar for a girl who identified herself as Linda from Jenda Trading Centre,” the paper wrote. “In the discomfort of a little shack, a woman (name withheld) takes up to 25 men in one night: one at a time, with or without a condom while the rest wait on a disciplined queue outside.”

The sexual activities are so prevalent in the region that local grocers apparently fail to meet the demand for condoms, which in turn creates a bigger market for unprotected sex.

Payday at the lumber centers, apparently, creates unprecedented business opportunities for women.

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Vegetarians in China: Adventures in translations

In China, sometimes being a vegetarian means the same thing as being a lesbian.
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Note written by a concierge in China for a vegetarian friend. (Alexia E./GlobalPost)

Talk about a travel keepsake for the scrapbook.

When my friend Alexia went to China recently, she kept having problems in local restaurants explaining that she was a vegetarian.

Her “no meat” pleading usually only got her “vegetarian meals with chicken.” If she was lucky.

So Alexia finally decided to talk to the concierge at her hotel. She begged him to write on a piece of paper in Chinese characters that she was a vegetarian.

That way, she could show the piece of paper in restaurants and they would know she didn’t eat meat, not even chicken, but that she was happy to eat anything with vegetables.

The concierge happily scribbled the Chinese characters for her.

Just to make sure he had written down the correct thing, she asked him to translate what he just wrote into English.

He was happy to do that. Above the Chinese characters, he wrote: “I don’t eat meat, eggs. I eat vag.”

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The Great Wall of Vagina (VIDEO)

A British sculptor's exhibit of female genitals celebrate the diversity of the vulva, and fights female genital mutilation.
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Close up of one of the ten panels in the Great Wall of Vagina. Each panel contains 40 casts. (J. McCartney/Courtesy)

The feedback on “The Great Wall of Vagina” has been mixed so far.

Some call it the new wonder of the world, others declare the whole thing so gross it would make one “instantly gay.”

Now spare a thought for the poor British artist, Jamie McCartney.

How many plaster casts does it take before you don’t ever want to see another vagina ever again?

So far, McCartney has accumulated casts taken from the genitals of 400 different women.

The Great Wall of Vagina exhibition debuted at last year's Brighton Fringe Festival, and the artist continues to add to his collection.

Believe it or not, vaginas come in all different shapes and sizes, not just the uni-vulva look of porn today's stars. Which is, incidentally, McCartney’s larger, yet subtle, point. 

“For many women their genital appearance is a source of anxiety and I was in a unique position to do something about that,” he writes on The Great Wall of Vagina website

Of course there's video:

McCartney hopes his sculpture will help combat the exponential rise of cosmetic labial surgeries.

According to the artist, this worrying trend to create '"perfect" vaginas is the Western equivalent of female genital mutilation, and sets a troubling precedent for future generations of women.

As part of this ongoing quest, McCartney is still looking for models.

In fact, if you had been in the vicinity of Brighton, U.K. on Feb. 4 and were interested in having your vulva immortalized in plaster, you could have joined Erotic Meet, a group that organized a trip down to the artist’s Brighton studio Time Out London reports.

I have previously reported on the “designer vagina” trend in plastic surgeries for GlobalPost.

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Science news: If you were a spider you might self-castrate, too

Male spiders break off sex organs to boost paternity (and to save their own skins).
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A botched attempt to escape. A male Nephilengys malabarensis snapped off his genitals (red box) in the female, but was eaten anyway. (JOELYN OH / from REF 1/Nature/Courtesy)

If you had to subject yourself to having sex with female cannibals all the time, you might figure out a sneaky way to self-preserve, too. Which is what spiders have been able to do, Nature reports.

According to Daiqin Li at the National University of Singapore and his colleagues, 75 percent of female spiders kill males during sex. This little inconvenience naturally hasn’t stopped the males’ desire for sex, so they've had to get creative.

This is where the detachable penis comes into play.

According to the study, published in Biology Letters, male spiders have developed a handy skill to counter the female’s cannibalistic streak and — at the same time — increase their own reproductive possibilities. Essentially, they break off their genitals inside the female and run.

It doesn’t stop there.

After the male breaks away his penis, the stub still performs two functions: it continues to pump sperm into the female and it also works as a plug that prevents other males to penetrate. Serves her right: she is left fertilized and hungry.

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Iceland: Six body parts to wash before entering pool

Icelanders baffled at the unwillingness of Americans to wash properly in public.
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Shower naked! And if you’re not sure where exactly you’re supposed to be washing, please refer to the diagram hanging in the locker room. (I.Skoch/GlobalPost)

Shower naked!

That’s the sign hanging by the entrance of most of the amazing geothermal pools in Iceland.

Then you enter the changing room and there it is again, this time with a few more exclamation points: Shower Naked!!!!!

“What is it with Americans, and why do they refuse to wash properly before entering public pools?” a local friend asks me.

“Why do they insist on showering in their swim suits? You can’t wash properly if you shower in a bathing suit, you know.”

I tried to explain that Americans tend to be modest — not to mention self-conscious — about nudity.

“A lot of American kids haven’t grown up seeing their parents walking around naked, let alone seeing other people naked, definitely not in public places. America hardly has any nudist beaches. And they don’t even show breasts on T.V.," I patiently say.

This shocked him, especially the part about American modesty.

“Modest Americans? Isn’t it an oxymoron?” he asked and disappeared in the men’s changing room. That was good news. At least the changing rooms are segregated in most places.

Once I made it to the ladies’ changing room, I was committed to doing my pre-bathing wash properly. Fully nude and dilligently scrubbing.

As I opened my locker, there it was again to remind me: the “Shower naked!” sign. And to prevent all the Americans from cheating by simply “wetting their naked bodies” in the shower for two seconds to minimize their nude time, Iceland got even more specific with the showering requirements here.

This sign came — in several languages — with a diagram of all the body parts “to wash with shampoo” when showering: head, armpits, feet and genitals.

Essentially, any body part that has hair on it (or used to before waxing took off) needs to be scrubbed.

And let me tell you, locals pay close attention. Not to your nudity, mind you. They, mercifully, come in all different shapes and sizes there, too.

But they will make sure you are washing all the proper bits and pieces and don’t bring some awful foreign bacteria into their pool.

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Sex shop clients forced to use back door

A British sex shop has been forced to install a secluded back entrance after clients were subjected to loud cheers from a nearby pub.
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The front door goes "ding" and customers of the Apsley sex shop now prefer the back door. (Spencer Platt/AFP/Getty Images)

Not many sex shops in the world specifically urge their customers to use the back door.

But in Apsley, Hertfordshire, it was apparently for the greater good of the community.

I almost spat out my morning coffee when I read this story in The Telegraph today, but in truth, they are talking about an actual back entrance.

As it turns out, the only adult shop in Apsley was receiving so many ribald jeers from the The Bull pub opposite, they had to install a more discrete side door.

According to the story, customers looking to enter the shop were given a shock as the “Bull busters” across the road — consisting mainly of inebriated construction workers — reacted with friendly banter and a loud "wa-hey!"

Landlady Nicola Green, 47, was quoted as saying: "As soon as you open that door it goes 'ding!' When that bell goes people in here cheer, so the shop moved the entrance round the side.”

Wait, it gets better.

According to one customer interviewed by The Telegraph, the whole "ding thing" got so embarrassing — especially in the summer months when people were drinking outside the pub — the shop started losing customers. 

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Unveiled in Turkey: Vogue for the veiled

Alâ, a new magazine for the modern, fashion-conscious Muslim woman, is proving that veils can still be avant-garde.
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Alâ, a Turkish magazine that only shows women in headscarves, is a hit. (Ala/Courtesy)

I am a sucker for a good religious double-standard.

So I was overjoyed to see that the new Turkish magazine Alâ — the so-called Vogue for the veiled — has been doing so well. With only six issues under its belt, the magazine has been so successful that it's needed to increase circulation multiple times.

Each issue today sells about 30,000 pieces, the Daily Mail reports.

Alâ, which is Turkish for "the most beautiful of the beautiful," only shows models in headscarves and only advertises clothing that conforms to Islamic customs. The magazine was started last year by a 31-year-old devout Muslim, Ibrahim Burak Birer, in order to fight the "dictate of nudity" seen in other magazines.

“Cosmopolitan, Elle, Vogue, Marie Claire, it's all about sex and naked skin,’ Birer said in the Daily Mail. “The motto is that sex sells. But we, and millions of women around the world, believe that fashion can also be different.”

And in Alâ, described as the avant-garde of ‘veiled’ fashion, fashion truly is different.

Veils do, after all, come in a variety of beautiful colors and materials, and one never has to worry about a bad hair day.

The main problem is that the more attractive the hijab, the more attractive the models generally look in it. And the other way around. Some of the women portrayed in the magazine — with their beguiling, smoky eyes and slightly open mouths — look outright (do I dare say it?) sexy.

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